Mid and Later Life Care Work Migration. Patterns of Re-organising Informal Care Obligations in Central and Eastern Europe

Gudrun Bauer, August Österle

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Background: Many women inmid or later life fromCentral and Eastern Europe commute for live in 24-hour care work to Austria. In addition to paid care work abroad, the majority of women in this age group is confronted with informal (family) care obligations towards children, towards´older relatives or towards grandchildren. Objective: This study aims to explore the patterns of re-organising these informal care obligations (childcare, long-termcare and domesticwork) in the respective home country and to analyse the factors that determine the re-organisation. Methods: The study builds on qualitative interviews with 20 migrant care workers aged 40 years and over, 9 Romanian and 11 Slovakian women providing 24-hour care work in Austria. Results: All interviewees commute in 2- to 4-weekly shifts between the home country and Austria and report multiple informal care obligations towards family members in the respective home country. In most cases, members of the nuclear and extended family, and in many cases husbands or partners of migrant care workers, act as the main substitute caregivers. Institutional care provision plays amore important role for child care as against for older people in need of care for whom care services are hardly available or accessible in the countries observed. Discussion: While re-organisation depends much on the specific Family constellations, strong assumptions towards family care, the limitations in (monetary) resources and the lack of public welfare provisions strongly co-determine the arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81 - 93
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502046 Economic policy
  • 303010 Health economics
  • 509005 Gerontology
  • 509012 Social policy
  • 506004 European integration

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